See that? That goat cheese pizza would make my heart sing if someone plopped it down in front of me. My kids? Not so much. A few of them love it, others hate it. My husband? Not his favorite.
My sister and I also had very different tastes growing up. Sometimes I would put nuts in the cookie dough just to spite her. What is she thinking? She just doesn’t know what tastes good.
Over the years, however, I’ve realized that we can love people by what we cook — and by what we don’t cook. If I make things on purpose that I know my family dislikes, well, that’s not really loving them.
This isn’t to say that children shouldn’t be exposed to new tastes and textures. And I’m definitely not saying that picky eaters should be given free reign. However, there are boundaries we can respect in allowing others to have different tastes than our own.
So how does this work out practically in meal planning?
Create meals that allow flexibility in how it is served.
I regularly prepare meals that allow my diners to customize the food to their own taste preferences. This includes meals like burritos, chimichangas, beans and rice, even hot dogs and brats. The basic meal is the same for everyone, but vary as people top their plates with their favorite flavors.
Introduce new flavors, but allow a way out.
Recently, I made a wonderful chimichurri rice with shrimp and sausage. It was delicious. But, I knew a few of my people might wrinkle their noses at the peppers and onions in the rice. I required each of the children to taste the rice, but I also had a number of side dishes available for them to fill up on if the rice wasn’t quite what they loved.
Include at least one favorite each week.
It’s funny but my pickiest eater is also the one who willingly eats the trainwreck meals that the usually voracious eaters won’t touch. Since he’s picky all the time, he’s had to learn what the others haven’t: to eat what he doesn’t like.
Therefore, I try to include something that each kid loves at least once a week. It’s a trade-off between what they might consider mediocre dinners and the foods that they just gorge themselves over.
Over time I figure my kids will have well-rounded diets. They will eventually learn to like a variety of foods. And while meal planning puts order into the workings of my home, I can still tweak it to suit their tastes most of the time. I can still love them through meal planning, even if I don’t serve their favorites every night of the week.
How do YOU love your family through meal planning?
Put Your House in Order
I’m participating in a series, called “Put Your House in Order,” with a bunch of great bloggers. Each of us is tackling a different area of home management and sharing suggestions for organizing in the new year.
Check out how the others are tackling this season of Love:
Fruit of the Spirit Charts for Kids from Connie at Smockity Frocks
Making Family Rules Fun from Myra at My Blessed Life
Facebook and Inappropriate Relationships from Courney at Women Living Well
Family Finances from Kingdom First Mom
P.S. Jamie, I’m sorry that I purposely made cookies you didn’t like.